Charles E. Matthews, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues pooled data from nine prospective cohorts with self-reported leisure-time physical activity and follow-up for cancer incidence. The association between physical activity and incidence of 15 cancers was examined for 755,459 participants followed for 10.1 years.
During follow-up, 50,620 incident cancers accrued. The researchers found the risk for seven of the 15 cancers studied was significantly lower with engagement in recommended amounts of activity (7.5 to 15 metabolic equivalent task hours per week), including colon (8 to 14 per cent lower in men), breast (six to 10 per cent lower risk), endometrial (10 to 18 per cent lower risk), kidney (11 to 17 per cent lower risk), myeloma (14 to 19 per cent lower risk), liver (18 to 27 per cent lower risk), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (11 to 18 per cent lower risk in women). For half of the associations, the dose response was linear and nonlinear for the others. For moderate- and vigorous-intensity leisure-time physical activity, the results were mixed.
“These findings provide direct quantitative support for the levels of activity recommended for cancer prevention and provide actionable evidence for ongoing and future cancer prevention efforts,” the authors write.